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Talking Back to Over-Indulgence

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful."  Have you ever heard that quote?  It's funny because it's a paradox.  The fact is that no matter what the "good thing" is, too much of anything is, by definition, not good.  So the wiser and well-known quote is "Everything in moderation."

Moderation can be challenging, but especially in things that offer particular pleasure.  This week's spiritual attack comes in a cunning camouflage of GOOD things God has given: food and sexual intimacy.  But in the hands of God's enemy, these are warped into temptations known as Gluttony and Lust.

So this week we talked back to these temptations using Scripture and what Paul called the "belt of truth."  Our scripture is John 3:16-21.

1) The light of Jesus overcomes the destructiveness of gluttony.
Gluttony is excess, especially in food and drink, but also in many other things.  Temptations toward gluttony come in forms besides physical hunger.  Gluttony says things like:
- A simple lifestyle is weird.
- Your friends are enjoying pleasures you should also enjoy"
- If you don't have this now, someone else will get it.
- You deserve this.

Gluttony is the non-rational amplification of good pleasures to have the appearance of things that can ultimately fulfill us.  Gluttony promises satisfaction, and then steals that very thing and makes God look like the thief.

2) The light of Jesus overcomes the destructiveness of lust.
The monk Evagrius faced a life crisis when he fell in love with a married woman.  He had a distinct experience of lust, and it ruined the life he was trying to build.  Lust also takes many forms:
- Your sexual hunger is natural; why resist it?
- You're a bad person if you can't control your sexual urges.
- You can resist, but you don't really want the feelings to go.
- What kind of God would subject you to this kind of struggle?

We can see the pervasiveness of lust in the startling statistics about pornography use in the US.  I also told a story of a huge sticker I saw across the back of a truck window that was so sexually explicit I can't repeat it.  But the "normalization" of pornography is a red flag that the demon of lust -- which DESTROYS sex while claiming to celebrate it -- has a strong foothold in our culture.

So the BATTLE PLAN against Over-Indulgence of gluttony and lust is to live in the LIGHT.  That is, to live above reproach.  Two ways of doing that are by ACCOUNTABILITY and AFFIRMATION.

Accountability basically means refusing to hide.  Who has access to your credit card statements?  Who is able to see your internet history?  Do you have any hidden food or magazines in your home that need to come out into the light?  

But along with accountability there is affirmation.  When we are held accountable by people we trust, we are also affirmed that we are not alone.  The greatest power these temptations have is to make us feel isolated.  But we're not.  We're in good company.  

There are many techniques for living in the light in these areas.  One that we use at UPPC is called Covenant Eyes.  It is accountability software for internet use, and it is for men and women to use.  Contact us if you're interested.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.  The world is full of temptations, and those which feel pleasurable are especially challenging.  Replace fleeting pleasures with eternal joy, in your holy name.  Amen.

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